NUSD Spotlight
     Community Newsletter
     -- September 4,  2018  

Hope you enjoy this edition of "NUSD Spotlight," the district's community newsletter. Contact Director of Communications Jim Sanders, (916) 561-5267, if you have comments, concerns or story suggestions. Thank you for your support of Natomas schools.
We need your help this year to ensure that every student attends school every day and arrives on time. September is Attendance Awareness Month nationwide, an opportune time to reflect on this vital priority.
Showing up for school has a huge impact on a student's academic success, starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. 
We realize some absences are unavoidable due to health problems or other circumstances. But we also know that when students miss too much school -- regardless of the reason -- it can cause them to fall behind academically. Your child is less likely to succeed if he or she is chronically absent, which means missing just two days a month over the course of an entire school year. For some practical tips to support regular attendance, click here.  
EDITOR'S NOTE:  Length of a newsletter can cause stories at the bottom to be clipped from display. If that happens to this newsletter, click " View Entire Message " prompt at the bottom of the page. Thank you very much.
Expanding opportunities
New Heron  TK class marks NUSD milestone:
now every school with young kids has one
With the launch of Heron School's new Transitional Kindergarten class this year, every NUSD elementary and K-8 school now has a TK program taught by a credentialed teacher to help prepare 4-year-olds for early academic success.

Goals of TK include making learning fun for kids, getting them excited about school, laying a foundation they can build on, and teaching them vital social-emotional skills such as sharing, playing together and making friends.

"It's amazing to see," Cherie Perez, Heron's TK teacher, said of how quickly 4-year-olds learn. "It's fun to watch."

A giant handmade banner hanging from a wall in Heron's TK classroom contains the handprint of each student and declares, "We (love) TK!" Read more here.

New student Trustee Mai Mai
Six years ago she could not speak English
-- now she speaks for all district  students 
Unable to speak English only six years ago, Mai Mai now has the responsibility of speaking for all Natomas Unified students as the district's new Student Trustee.

Since immigrating to the United States when she was 11 or 12, Mai not only has learned the language but excels at Inderkum High now, with accomplishments that include:

-- Earning a 4.55 gpa
-- Participating in the academically rigorous IB program
-- Speaking three languages: Vietnamese, French & English
-- Playing the flute and oboe in the school band
-- Participating in the National Honor Society
-- Helping to create a Model United Nations Club

Mai said her parents sacrificed everything to leave Vietnam so she could pursue a U.S. education. She feels privileged. Her definition of success, she said, is to enjoy happiness with her parents -- and have them always feel proud of her. Read more here
Job partnership with pro team 
Jaycee Baca's hiring by River Cats team
is big plum for Inderkum Broadcast program
Jaycee Baca's Sacramento River Cats jersey is a walking ad for NUSD college and career readiness: She works for the team now, thanks largely to skills gained in Inderkum High's Broadcast Media program.

"I love it," Jaycee said of her part-time job on the River Cats' broadcast team, which she landed several weeks ago.

Baca's hiring by the River Cats marks the start of what both the team and NUSD intend as a partnership in which other local broadcast students could be considered for jobs in baseball seasons to come.

To showcase the possibilities, Inderkum broadcast leader Melissa May led a field trip recently in which 27 of her students toured the Raley Field TV production control room, where team officials explained what skills are needed for employment. Read more here.
College and career perspective
Thank you, Frances Wang of ABC 10 news
Nobody can talk more insightfully about becoming a TV broadcaster than a professional like Frances Wang, ABC 10 anchor and reporter, who visited Inderkum High last week to speak to students in Melissa May's Broadcast Media pathway. 

Wang traced how she got into TV, discussed her career trail, showed film clips of her news coverage, and provided the aspiring Tiger broadcasters with tips, anecdotes and inspiration.

Personal contact with industry pros is vital as students consider college and career. Thank you, Frances Wang, for giving up hours of your free time to help our students.
NUSD Teacher of the Year honored by Sacramento County Office of Education 
Stephanie Schulzkump
applauded by SCOE

NUSD Teacher of the Year Stephanie Schulzkump was honored by the Sacramento County Office of Education recently, along with 13 other top teachers of their respective local districts. 

To put their accomplishment in perspective, this handful of teachers were chosen as standouts in excellence among thousands of colleagues countywide.

Schulzkump was selected for her impact last year as a 6th-grade teacher at Jefferson School. Thank you, Stephanie, for all you've done to help kids prepare for college and career. You make us proud.
Board to honor school Teachers of the Year

Each school selected a Teacher of the Year last spring, and all will be recognized at the Sept. 12 Board of Trustees meeting, with principals, district leaders, colleagues and families looking on. Here is a school-by-school list:

American Lakes School - Vanessa Mercado
Bannon Creek School -- Amanda Garcia
Discovery High School -- Laurelle Mathison
H. Allen Hight Elementary School -- Selene Jacobs
Heron School -- Katie Kim
Inderkum High School -- Melissa Mathews
Jefferson School -- Stephanie Schulzkump (District TOY as well)
Leroy Greene Academy -- Erin Juneau
Natomas Gateways Middle School -- Fernando Cruz
Natomas High School -- Nicholas Juri
Natomas Middle School -- Paul Baker
Natomas Park Elementary School -- Ramandeep Bains
Paso Verde School -- Kristen Martin
Two Rivers Elementary School -- Lorrie Lewis
Witter Ranch Elementary School -- Jennifer Jones
(Note: Winners were selected last spring. There are instances where teachers no longer are working at the school listed.) 
Bedtime Math
Now I lay me down to sleep -- 2, 4, 6, 8, 10
Many parents read bedtime stories to prepare kids for sleep and spark a love of reading. But what if families did a fun math problem each night? Would their kids get excited about numbers, too? Let's find out.

NUSD encourages all elementary school families to download and use the "Bedtime Math" app, available in the Apple App Store or Google Play. After downloading it, click on "Community Edition," enter the code "CA," then select your school district and school name. Daily math questions are geared to your child's age.

One day last week, the focus was on teeth -- (and kids ended up knowing how many a shark has) ... Have fun!
Student & parent opportunities and info 
Learn to cook regional cuisine
from professional chef -- only $20

Learn to cook a mouth-watering variety of unforgettable regional cuisine from a professional chef for just $20? ... Yes!

Chef Michael Mitchell, who leads Discovery High's Culinary Arts program, will teach a twice-weekly cooking class through NUSD Adult Education from Sept. 11 through Oct. 17. 

Specialties include Tex-Mex, Cajun, Creole, Floribian, Southern and Southwestern cuisine. Register by calling (916) 928-5220. Click here for more information. 
Learn to track your child's grades,
attendance, homework & other info 

With the push of a button, you can track your student's grades, attendance, homework and other classroom information through a cellphone, laptop, or personal computer.

We'll show you how -- simply attend one of our three Parent Portal information nights, all from 6-8 p.m., on Thursday, Sept. 13, at Natomas Middle School, 3200 No. Park Drive; on Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Natomas High School, 3301 Fong Ranch Dr.; or on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at Leroy Greene Academy, 2950 W. River Dr.

A few simple tips should have you using Natomas Unified's Parent Portal and Mobile App right away. The process is easy, the meetings are free, and we're happy to help. To register, go to or call (916)  473-0053. This two-hour meeting could benefit you and your student for years to come. We hope to see you there. Check out this flyer for more information.
Please 'Like' us on Facebook
and follow us on Twitter 

Let's work together to educate your child. We urge parents to get to know our district. We provide multiple opportunities to learn about NUSD successes, plans and events throughout the school year. 

Two key sources are Facebook -- we're listed as "Natomas Unified School District" -- and Twitter, under @NatomasUSD.  District and school websites also are a good source of information ranging from lunch menus to parent opportunities. Thanks for taking a look. We're honored to serve you.
Help NUSD students
and have some fun
in this golf tourney 
Here's a way to help kids while having fun golfing, exercising and making new friends ... 

Proceeds from the Natomas Chamber of Commerce's 13th Annual Natomas Scramble Golf Tournament on Sept. 20 will fund college scholarships for students attending NUSD high schools, charter and non-charter.

If you're a golfer, please take a look. Thanks! ... Registration forms can be printed out from this link 
Back to School Nights - Elementary/K-8
Hey Parents -- Check out this cool classwork! 
Back to School Night 2018 Heron, Jefferson, BCE, NPE

Heron, Jefferson, Bannon Creek
& Natomas Park schools
Not able to attend Back to School Night on Aug. 29? No problem. 

We're bringing it to you. Here's a peek inside classrooms at Heron, Natomas Park, Jefferson and Bannon Creek schools ... 
Back to School Night 2018 Two Rivers, Paso Verde, Witter Ranch, American Lakes and H Allen Hight

Two Rivers, Paso Verde
Witter Ranch, American Lakes
and H. Allen Hight school

Want something to lift your spirits? Check out the learning, caring and smiles on display Aug. 30 in Back to School Night at Two Rivers, Paso Verde, Witter Ranch, American Lakes and H. Allen Hight schools ... Awesome!
American Lakes School
Improving school culture by having fun 
All grades at American Lakes School gathered for a big rally Aug. 24 to hear about the school's partnership with STORM -- Special Team of Role Models -- which works with students at local school districts during class recesses to encourage good behavior and healthy fun.

At American Lakes, they'll promote the "Eagle Way":
1) Show Respect
2) Make Good Decisions
3) Solve Problems

Three days a week, STORM's energetic "coaches" will lead games and activities at American Lakes that everyone can join at recess. They'll promote a culture of friendship, inclusion, positivity. And if they spot students who need extra attention, the school's system of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) can step in. ... Our goal is to help kids, not just educate them.
OK, staff, strut your stuff!
American Lakes staff asked to dance at school rally
In the spirit of good, clean, let-down-your-hair fun, American Lakes teachers got a huge surprise Aug. 24 when they were called to the front of the room during a big school rally and asked to show off a dance move.  No grades given, but lots of smiles received ...   The kids clearly loved this. Check it out for yourself ...
Eagles new school rap song
American Lakes School Song

This video is fun, but don't click on it yet, because I need to set the scene...  The action starts with American Lakes students singing the traditional school song, which is relatively slow-paced and has rather conventional lyrics: "We are the American Lakes Eagles ... We all love our school ... We're the top, we're number 1 ... Going to American Lakes is fun..."
Then comes the twist.  ...

Teacher Stephen Smith and a group of Eagle 4th- through 7th-graders decided to "update" the school song and came up with a catchy, danceable, rap-style alternative. They presented it to classmates at a big school rally ...

Tigers winning big in undefeated streak  
Tigers indeed! ... Keeping its unbeaten streak alive, Inderkum's football team beat Sacramento High last Friday, 42-6, raising its season record to 3-0. 

Even more impressive, perhaps, is how it has dominated the scoreboard every game. Cumulatively, the Tigers have outscored their opponents 148-19!
NUSD Spotlight 
Brought to you by NUSD communications team of Jim Sanders, Lauren Schnitzler and Jeff McPhee. If you have questions, comments or story tips, please call (916) 561-5267.